Alcohol and Drugs

17 Feb 2009 by Olga Brighton

Travel Information


Different countries have different attitudes towards alcohol and drugs and your behaviour may offend others. Try to recognise your limits and make sure that you are taking care of yourself:

Alcohol limits
    • Accidents are more likely to happen after drinking alcohol or taking drugs so be careful and know your limits.
    • If you have an accident or injure yourself whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs, your travel insurance will probably be invalidated. You could end up spending time in a foreign hospital, where they may not speak English or you may need to be repatriated home at a huge cost.
    • Don´t drink excessively before you fly. There are severe penalties for being drunk and disorderly onboard aircraft.
    • Never drive after drinking or taking drugs or get in a car with someone who has. Try to share a cab with a friend. Never accept a lift from an unlicensed taxi, a stranger or someone you do not completely trust.
    • Avoid activities such as swimming or driving any kind of vehicle if you´re under the influence of drink or drugs.

Read also: Local Laws and Customs in China

  • When you have a lot to drink you tend to drop your guard. Be sure to remain vigilant however much fun you´re having, and keep an eye out for your friends.
  • Remember that drinks served in bars overseas are often stronger than those in the UK so be aware of this and know your limit.
  • If you´ve only just met someone ask yourself whether you completely trust them. Think very carefully as to whether you should leave the pub, club or party with them. Be aware that the use of alcohol and drugs can lead to you being less alert, less in control and less aware of your environment.
  • Drugs are sometimes used in rape - it´s a fact. Once added to a drink they cannot normally be detected. Try to keep your drink with you at all times.
  • Remain aware of other holidaymakers and acquaintances you have made. Rape and incidents of sexual assault are frequently perpetrated by ´acquaintances´, however casual that acquaintance may be.
  • Be careful when drinking in hot climates. You could be in danger of dehydrating or overheating. Drink plenty of water to help prevent this from happening.

Drugs and the Law

Drugs abroad

Although most journeys made by British nationals abroad are trouble-free, 3,727 British nationals were detained overseas in the last three months of 2003. Over a third of them - 1,329 - were held for drug offences.

Be aware of the consequences of becoming involved with drugs overseas. Different countries have different penalties for both the supply and possession of drugs. Make sure you obey the local laws. The penalties can often be very severe. In many countries you could be imprisoned for many years; often in grim conditions, fined; or deported for offences that may have incurred a lesser charge in the UK. You can even receive the death penalty in some countries. Remember that if you are arrested abroad you are subject to the laws of that country.

If you´re considering taking or becoming involved in drugs abroad then read this first, it´ll make you stop and think:

  • Pack your own luggage and secure it properly. Never carry packages through Customs for other people and do not sit in anyone else´s vehicle when going through Customs or crossing a border. Keep your luggage with you at all times.
  • Many countries refuse to grant bail before trial and often detain people in solitary confinement.
  • You will still get a criminal record in the UK if caught with drugs abroad. If you are found guilty you will need to provide details of your conviction, if requested by your employer or insurer.
  • If you get injured or ill as a result of drugs, your holiday insurance may be invalidated and your tour operator can refuse to fly you home.
  • You should carry a doctor´s prescription with you for any medication you may need - this will help avoid unnecessary delays during customs and immigration checks. It´s best to keep medication in its original packaging.
  • If you´ve been caught with drugs abroad, you´re unlikely to ever be allowed to visit that country again.

Read also: Don't Make These 18 Gift Giving Mistakes Abroad [Infographic]

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